Any Life-threatening Side Effects with Smart Lipo?

I am considering Smart Lipo for my abdomen. Is it worth the try? I would like to know if there has been any life threatening side effects regarding smart lipo. Is ephenepherine and lidocane safe in those amounts. What about the two liters of water used with these medications. Can they cause serious complications or even death?

Doctor Answers 7

The Risks of ANY Surgery depend on your choices...

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Hi there-

As my colleagues have mentioned, ALL surgery has risks. Your goal should be to MINIMIZE these risks by making smart decisions about:

WHO you let do any surgery on you

WHERE you have the procedure done


HOW the surgery is done (some body contour techniques are safer than others)

My opinion is that Smartlipo, and other laser-based devices do not offer the effectiveness and safety profile of alternatives like the VASER or even Tumescent Liposuction.

For more information on liposuction and making smart decisions, please follow the link below.

Side Effects with Smart Lipo

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First and foremost make sure your physician has the experience and the proper credentials.  Each individual is only allowed so much lidocaine be day per their body weight, this is a must.  Since the Smart Lipo is a laser, a patient could get a burn to the skin but can be treated.  Again this goes back to the experience of the physician. 

Bruce E. Katz, MD
New York Dermatologic Surgeon
3.8 out of 5 stars 17 reviews

Smart lipo is very safe

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SmartLipo MPX is very safe, is performed in the right patient, life threatening risks are almost non existing. The most important factor in determine your outcome from the procedure is your choice of the provider. During the initial consultation your surgeon needs to obtain a detailed history and physical. SmartLipo MPX has two safety features the older SmartLipo machines do not have, one is the temperature sensor in the cannula, which no only will prevent a burn in your skin but will tell the surgeon if the right temperature was reached to obtain the skin contraction needed. The other is the motion sensor which will make the machine stop the lasering if the cannula is not moving, again avoiding the risk of burning.

Being certified by the American Board of Plastic Surgery will assure you  of the proper training of your surgeon.

Good luck

Victor M. Perez, MD, FACS
Kansas City Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 31 reviews

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Potential Risks of Cosmetic Surgery including Liposuction - Smart Lipo

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There is NO surgical procedure which is not associated with risks and complications (or as you refer to them as side effects). Usually, the more involved the procedure, the greater the risks and the greater the potential benefits.

With Smart Lipo you will be taking on 3 different sets of risks:
- risks associated with ALL surgeries (anesthesia risks, bleeding,bruising, infection, allergic reactions etc)
- risks associated with (tumescent) Liposuction (overdose or poor reaction to epinephrine, overdose or poor reaction to lidocaine, fluid overload and heart failure (older individuals), over resection with surface irregularities among others)
- risks associated specifically with Smart Lipo (deep and superficial burns, potentially a higher rate of seroma and of infections, skin hyperpigmentation and irregularities among others).

The MOST important factor to safeguard your safety and reduce these risks is to pick a competent and experienced Plastic Surgeon (

Peter A. Aldea, MD
Memphis Plastic Surgeon

Risks of liposuction

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Smart Lipo from Cynosure or laser-assisted liposuction, has a risk of skin injury related to the heat of the device but there are many safety mechanisms in the device that help limit this risk.  The epinephrine in the local anesthetic was described by Dr. Jeffrey Kelin many years ago and tumescent liposuction has had a very good safety profile, but there are some patients with heart disease or thyroid conditions that the epinephrine may exacerbate underlying problems.  If too much of the anesthetic is used there could be fatal consequences but the surgeon follows the guidelines and limits the amount of local anesthetic given.  When the liposuction is done as a sole treatment, and the surgery does not last for many hours and conservative amounts, not very huge volumes of fat, are removed, the procedure is very safe. To increase the level of safety, the surgeon reviews your concurrent medication to ensure that they do not interfere with the liver's metabolism of the lidocaine anesthetic given during the liposuction. But with any surgical procedure there are risks, and although very very rare, even fatal consequences can occur.  Be sure your surgeon discusses all of these risks with you during your  consultation.

Ronald Shelton, MD
Manhattan Dermatologic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 39 reviews

As with any procedure, if done incorrectly or by the wrong person bad things can happen

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One of the most common misconceptions is that 'a procedure is safe'.  While a procedure can be either safe or not safe, even more important to consider is the physician who is performing it!   The epinephrine and lidocaine are safe when given in the right amounts, but can be deadly if used incorrectly.  This is just the same with most other medications, such as aspirin or even tylenol!

SmartLipo is a procedure where the skill of the surgeon is of incredible importance.  The reason for this is that an unskilled or untalented surgeon can leave the patient deformed or even dead if done incorrectly or using improper technique. 

In our clinic, we evaluate patients thoroughly prior to the procedure using standardized blood tests and a questionnaire as well as an informed consent that is both written and video.  These prepare patients correctly and also make sure they are good candidates.

As for the procedure, it helps (in my opinion) to have been a well trained surgeon before graduating to SmartLipo.  I have performed over 3000 liposuction cases and now about 100 of SmartLipo.  While it isn't dramatically different, it has a lot of balls in the air and it definitely takes a good team and a skilled surgeon.

My preference is to have a tumescent method prior to the SmartLipo as well.  That assures a quick, nearly bruiseless recovery.  Most of my patients have NO bruising and are back to work the next day after the surgery or, at most, two days after surgery. 

You raised a great question and I hope your surgery goes well.

Joel Schlessinger, MD
Omaha Dermatologic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 50 reviews

Life-threatening side effects with Smart Lipo

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Any type of Liposuction can have serious side effects even death. Make sure you are treated by a board certified surgeon PS. Ask questions about their qualifications, training, hospital/surgery privileges. Than decide.

From MIAMI Dr. B

These answers are for educational purposes and should not be relied upon as a substitute for medical advice you may receive from your physician. If you have a medical emergency, please call 911. These answers do not constitute or initiate a patient/doctor relationship.